Voices from all sides tell an author to advertise aggressively. But rather than sit here and type "buymybookbuymybookbuymybook" I thought I would do something different. Very few people are interested in something promoted with robot-like persistence anyway. Experience has taught me that humans are interested in stories. And a story is exactly what I want to give you. I don't think I'll be able to tell this one in one blog post, so I'll spread it out over a few weeks.
Here it is: the story behind Rafen.
I was a homeschooled kid. A lot of people think homeschoolers are freaks, and they wouldn't have been too far off the mark with me. My other siblings are not insane. It's just me. I guess I caught the author bug young. From the time that my Mum pressed one of those super thick pencils into my hand and told me to write "Yvette", I meant to have my name on a cover one day.
Why would a five-year-old want to become an author? Why would a kid who can barely write one word want to write an entire book one day? What could be worse? I can't answer any of these questions. I can only say what my heart was set on. Who knows the reasons behind it all?
My notebooks from when I was six prove that I was writing about my main character and his female sidekick even back then. However, she was the centre of attention in those days. It was when I became a tomboy, at age ten, that the main character became male forever.
At age eight or nine, I remember one of Dad's old colleagues coming over to see us in Australia. She showed a huge amount of interest in my crazy designs of becoming an author, and she encouraged me. While she was visiting, I wrote five or six handwritten A4 pages of what I hoped would be my first book. I never finished it. My hand got sore.
When we went to Sydney, when I was ten years old, the folks whose place we were house-sitting at had a Harry Potter book on the shelf. My sister read it and then told me to have a go. I read it, decided it offended me, and vowed and declared I would write something better. (The crazy thing is, I'm a huge HP fan now.) I was a bit of an arrogant toad back then. I'm slightly less so now, and still working on toning down my stubborn ego.
Anyway, the end result was that I started writing my first book at age ten. When we returned from holiday, I began typing it on the family computer, secretly, during school time. I was meant to be learning how to type by going through a course my Mum had given me. Instead, I was writing a fantasy novel. Rebellious, right? I learned to type in the end. I'm probably the fastest in the family.
By the end of the year, I had written 55,000 words, and I was sure I was on the high road to fame. Hilarious. My Dad read it. And here's the bit that's interesting in this story. Any other parent would have said: "Wow, kid. You're amazing." I'm a teacher now, and I haven't meant any ten or eleven-year-old that has the level of literacy I did at that age. That's not to say I was incredible. I was just precocious. But school teachers would have loved me. My Dad? He saw how serious I was, and he gave me the greatest gift I could possibly have. He was serious back.
I said: "I'm going to get it published."
He said: "There's no way anyone's going to publish this."
Me: "Why not?"
Dad: "The characters make no sense, half the time we don't even know where they are, and there's no plot."
Me: "What's plot?"
Wow. Dad said to me: "I think you're going to have to rewrite this."
I remember having difficulty talking. Another whole year of giving up computer games? Another whole year of sweating over writing this book while my friends called me weird? I didn't know if I could do it.
It took me about two or three days to think it over. I wanted to get it published. I wanted to do it so badly that it was a constant ache in my bones. And I didn't want to just publish anything. I wanted to publish this idea, this boy - the slave turned hero. Nothing else would do.
I comforted myself by telling myself I could type pretty quickly by now.